Theta Chi Fraternity was founded at 9pm on April 10th, 1856 at Norwich University in Vermont by Arthur Chase and Frederick Norton Freeman, with the help of Egbert Phelps(ΧΨ). The original chapter at Norwich remained the only entity of Theta Chi for forty-six years, until the Beta Chapter was chartered at MIT in 1902. With over 130 active chapters in the US and Canada and 170,000 initiates, Theta Chi is one of the oldest and largest fraternities in North America.


In 1884 a small group of students at the University of Rochester founded the Independent Literary Society. Four years later, the group changed its name to the Phothepian Literary Society, and adopted the motto “Follow the Light”. As they gained influence in the University, the Phothepian Literary Society changed its name to Phi Epsilon Fraternity, secrecy became the watchword, and was incorporated as a fraternity in 1902 under the laws of New York State. Although the ideal of Phi Epsilon was scholarship, they sought the genuine all-round college man for membership. Meetings were held in the homes of various members until 1911 when membership had grown so rapidly that the house at 13 Upton Park, two blocks from campus, was purchased.

Phi Epsilon grew rapidly and soon became influential in the life of the student body at Rochester. In March 1920, Phi Epsilon petitioned Theta Chi for a charter, which was granted in May 1920 and installed June 11, 1920. The Phi Epsilon pin was similar to the diamond-shaped Theta Chi pin. In the center was a raised diamond-shaped field, on which, near the top, was a star, and near the bottom a lamp. Through the middle ran a band with the Greek letters Phi and Epsilon. The colors were pale blue and white. In Spring of 1927 Theta Chi moved to a rented house closer to the fraternity center at 27 Prince Street and after the University moved to the River Campus in 1930, the current Alpha Zeta Chapter house was occupied in 1931.


I believe in Theta Chi, its traditions and its ideals. Born of sturdy manhood, nurtured by resolute men, ennobled by high and sacred purpose, it has taken its place among the educational institutions of America as a promoter of knowledge, an advancer of culture and a builder of character. It inspires true friendship; teaches Truth,Temperance, and Tolerance, extols virtue, exacts harmony, and extends a helping hand to all who seek it. I believe in the primacy of Alma Mater; in the usefulness of my fraternity, in its influence and its accomplishments and I shall do all in my power to perpetuate its ideals, thereby serving my God, my country and my fellow-man. 

Our Stance on Gender Eligibility

Anyone who identifies as a man is welcome to seek membership in Theta Chi. Our stance on gender eligibility is consistent with that of our national governing organization. Since its founding in 1856, Theta Chi Fraternity’s mission has been dedicated to developing resolute men. The Fraternity’s programs are designed specifically to assist college aged men to become outstanding sons, brothers, fathers, uncles, and models of male behavior in society. As such, Theta Chi’s membership has always been limited to men only. The gender exclusivity of the members of Theta Chi is integral to our success in developing achieving our mission of developing resolute men. More info on our nationals policies regarding gender eligibility can be found here: https://www.thetachi.org/

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